Camden launches working group to review local monuments

Acting on calls for decolonisation raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol, Camden has launched its own review into local monuments and memorials.

The review, which is being led by a working group of Camden’s Councillors, will consider memorials and statues in the borough and make recommendations as to whether or not they should be removed.

These recommendations will be based on criteria agreed by the working group, considering the contributions of memorialised individuals to their field, context from the era they lived and whether those are outweighed by their involvement in imperialism and other forms of oppression.

Councillor Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion
“It’s hugely important that we look at the figures immortalised in our borough and think about how they impact on our diverse communities.

“In the case of imperialists like Cecil Rhodes, any celebration of his work stands to create a hostile environment for residents with personal and familial ties with Southern Africa.

“It is right that we reconsider these individuals and what they represent in the modern era. That is why I am proud to be chairing this working group as we recontextualise history and champion the diversity that makes Camden a place so many of us call home.”
Councillor Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion

Meeting for the first time last week, the working group have already started the process of renaming Cecil Rhodes House in Somers Town and Beckford School in West Hampstead.

To support this, the Council is drawing up a list of new names that will be put to residents of Cecil Rhodes House in the coming weeks, including candidates who better represent local communities, residents will also have an opportunity to make their own suggestions.